The United States District Court for the Central District of California has indicted Commander of Force Intelligence Response Team, DCP Abba Kyari in the ongoing prosecution of famous Nigerian Instagram celebrity, Raymond Abass, popularly known as Hushpuppi.
Consequently, US District Judge, Honorable O. Otis, has issued a warrant of arrest on Kyari and five others, to appear before it in the ongoing matter.
Kyari, however, dismissed the allegation on his Facebook page yesterday, saying he never collected money from Hushpuppi.
Hushpuppi was arrested on June 10, 2020, in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, over multiple fraud charges, alongside 11 others, in an operation, tagged ‘Fox Hunt’.
The suspects were accused of committing crimes outside the UAE, including money-laundering, cyber fraud, hacking, criminal impersonation, scamming individuals, banking fraud and identity theft,” the Dubai Police said.
Director of Dubai CID, Brigadier Jamal Salem Al Jallaf stated then, that the raid that led to Hushpuppi’s arrest resulted in the confiscation of incriminating documents of a planned fraud on a global scale worth AED 1.6 billion ($ 435 million).
“The team also seized more than AED 150 million ($40.9 million) in cash, 13 luxury cars with an estimated value of AED 25 million ($6.8 million) obtained from fraud crimes, and confiscated 21 computer devices, 47 smart phones, 15 memory sticks, five hard disks containing 119,580 fraud files as well as addresses of 1,926,400 victims,” he said.
A statement by the United States Attorney’s office, Central District of Califonia, titled “Six indicted in international scheme to defraud Qatari school founder and then launder over N1 Million in illicit proceeds” disclosed Kyari’s indictment .
It read: “ Nigerian national, known as Hushpuppi, admits money laundering in school financing scheme and additional cyber and business email compromise scheme.
“A Federal Grand jury indictment unsealed this week alleges an elaborate scheme to steal more than $1.1 million from a business person attempting to finance the construction of a school for children in Qatar, and the subsequent laundering of illicit proceeds through bank accounts around the world.
“The three-count indictment returned on April 29 and unsealed Monday, charges three US-based defendants who were arrested last week as well as three defendants believed to be in Africa, with conspiracy to engage in money laundering and aggravated identity theft.
” The criminal complainant that initiated the prosecution in February, was also unsealed Monday, revealing that Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, also known by his social media handle of ray Hushpuppi was initially charged in this case.
” Court documents ordered unsealed today show that Abbas, a 37-year-old Nigerian national, pleaded guilty on April 20. A version of Abbas’ plea agreement filed late Tuesday outlines his role in the school-finance scheme, as well as several other cyber and business email compromise schemes that cumulatively caused more than $24 million in losses.
“The defendants allegedly faked the financing of a Qatari school by playing the roles of bank officials and creating a bogus website in a scheme that also bribed a foreign official to keep the elaborate pretence going after the victim was tipped off,” said Acting United States Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison.
“Mr. Abbas, who played a significant role in the scheme, funded his luxurious lifestyle by laundering illicit proceeds generated by con artists who use increasingly sophisticated means. In conjunction with our law enforcement partners, we will identify and prosecute perpetrators of business email compromise scams, which is a massive and growing international crime problem.”
High-profile money launderer
“Mr. Abbas, among the most high-profile money launderers in the world, has admitted to his significant role in perpetrating global BEC fraud, a scheme currently plaguing Americans,” said Kristi K. Johnson, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.
“His celebrity status and ability to make connections seeped into legitimate organizations and led to several spin-off schemes in the US and abroad. Today’s announcement deals a crucial blow to this international network and hopefully serves as a warning to potential victims targeted with this type of theft.”